Idiot proofing my little system

I have a total off-the-grid island camp in western Maine, outhouse and all. We visit for long weekends and 1-2 full weeks a year.

My current system setup is with (4) 6 volt batteries and in series / parallel for 12v output to my inverter. I charge them with a battery charger running off my generator during the day - 2 hours. When the generator is running the camp is plugged into it and everything else we have is charging too. I use a typical hand held meter to keep track of the voltage and compare to a chart from this site. I'm able to maintain 90%+ charge most of the time.

I run our lights, radio and in a pinch my laptop at night off the inverter. The batteries are rarely used during the day.

So at this time I manually attaching the charger/inverter/meter to the batteries and moving the camp plug from the generator to the inverter when switching over. The inverter is disconnected at bedtime.

I'm looking for the ability to have all components connected all the time and a simple overall battery and inverter on/off, in-line meter reading, and the ability to add a couple of panels to charge the batteries and the generator used as a backup.

Lastly I need to set his up for anybody to be able to turn on or off.

Any thoughts or photos?

Cheers.

Comments

  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,377 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    They always seem to find a better idiot !!

    Here's my bare bones, no switches.

    12311_1263617589337_1196643274_30635776_4428397_n.jpg
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,996 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    Your looking for an invererter/charger, The Genny runsthroough it and charges the batteries when it's on and switched to the batteries when off.

    More info HERE.
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    shortfatguy: size of system? Makes a big difference in design. Also, budget constraints? Anything is possible if you spend enough $, right? :p

    Mike: if you replace those Christmas lights with the LED version you'll improve your system efficiency by 70%! :p
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,377 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    What's your budget ?
    12V 300 A battery switch $30 (to switch off at night)
    battery post fuse $20 (I can't seem to locate the clever gadget.)
    Monitors/Meters
    - meters can start to get pricey Simple voltmeters are cheap, but amp meters, shunts, totalizers and such get up to $200 pretty quick.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 887 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    Mike,
    I like your Xmas-y night light. What's the draw compared to a CFL?

    Ralph
  • peterakopeterako Solar Expert Posts: 144 ✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    ;) There is now way to have a idiot proof system , there is always a idiot to proof that.:D

    using a inverter charger plus automaic transfer switch this will be automatic.

    But if "sambody" wants to see where that red button is for your back to zero.

    Greetings from Greece8)
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 8,377 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system
    Ralph Day wrote: »
    Mike,
    I like your Xmas-y night light. What's the draw compared to a CFL?

    Ralph

    Those are LED lights, and the string draws 5 watts. They will loop 1x around the outside of the privy, and then inside several more times at the roof line. Nice dim diffused light.
    5w x 24h = 120Wh @ 12V = 10Ah off a 110AH battery.

    Rest of the 200W panel powers the cell phone chargers and laptop charger.
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 887 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    That sounds sweet Mike. Now all you need is a light sensor so they don't run during the day, and a motion sensor so they only come on when someone finds their way to the privy at night...this is how loads swell isn't it Tony?:p

    Ralph
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,245 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Idiot proofing my little system

    I use a string of LED X-mas lights for a night light, draws .10 watt. Won't keep the inverter triggered though.

    As for Idiot proofing, any connection that can be made or disrupted and that polarity is important, consider using Anderson Connectors. Use a Blue Sea fuse system at the battery to protect everything, and then bolt a pig tail with an Anderson to anything that might plug into it, (PV, charger etc) Lots of RED tape as well!

    As as has been noted, if people can mess it up they will!


    http://store.solar-electric.com/anhicupoco.html

    http://bluesea.com/category/5/22/productline/overview/379

    Follow the site for the fuse holder as well. Pretty slick system!

    Loads growing? I never heard of such nonsense! (I am going to have to change my signature,, as we are using close to 1kwh/day now days,,,, The bed warmer uses ~150 wh depending on how long we leave it on.

    Wireless net stays on more too! I guess as Rosanne Rosanna Danna would say,,, "Ya know Jane,, it's always something!"

    Tony
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